Charleston firefighters union endorses Riley opponent for mayor

September 27, 2007

Re: Endorsement of William Dudley Gregorie for Mayor of Charleston.

I am Roger Yow, President of the Charleston Firefighter’s Association and I’m here representing our members, which are Charleston firefighters.

In the months following one of the worst nights in Charleston’s history, June 18th, 2007, we are appalled at the actions of Mayor Joe Riley. Even with all the information and proof in front of him, he still keeps his eyes and ears closed to the facts.

In our opinion SC OSHA could have levied more fines on the city than they did. Even when the chief of fire department attempted to control the OSHA investigation by having a chief officer present during firefighters interviews, OSHA did their job in the end. Joe Riley won’t accept this and would rather spend more of the citizens’ tax money just to save face.

We feel that two things could have produced a better outcome at the fire that tragic night: an operating sprinkler system and a well-trained fire department command system. That night, neither was present. Nine good men were ordered to go into that building and, as all firefighters do, they expected that the commanders on the outside would have their backs and see signs of impending danger that they couldn’t see and warn them. Again, this didn’t happen.

The citizens of Charleston need to open Joe Riley’s eyes and ears on Nov. 6th. I have always heard folks here in Charleston say, “don’t overstay your welcome”. Joe Riley has overstayed his welcome. Joe Riley has embarrassed and disgraced this city with his actions and denials these last few months and his refusal to change for many years.

Before we can begin to heal from that tragic night, Charleston needs new leadership and a fresh start. I am very proud to be here to announce that the Charleston Firefighters Association endorses William Dudley Gregorie to be the next Mayor of the City of Charleston. Mr. Gregorie has the knowledge and an excellent history in management. He is more than capable of taking the helm in city hall. Mr. Gregorie will make city government work for all citizen of Charleston. Not just a chosen few.

Thank you.

Roger L. Yow — President

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